It's time to reassert positivity in digital

Posted on: Tuesday 07 February 2017 | Jon Mew

New IAB CEO, Jon Mew explains his vision for the future of the Internet Advertising Bureau in the UK and the digital industry as a whole.

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Reasserting positivity around digital is agenda item number one for me in my new role. The average advertiser spends the most on digital compared to any other media, and (rightly) this explosive growth has brought with it some heavy scrutiny from the industry and press. As I am sure many of you will have noticed, the tone of this commentary is becoming increasingly negative towards digital which I think is a huge shame. As our industry’s trade body, I believe we at the IAB have to do something about it.

So, how do we do it?

Broadly in two ways.

Firstly we need to think longer term, start to think like a brand and become marketing led. Given we spend so much time working with marketers we could learn a lot from them, particularly that we need to start treating digital as our own ‘brand’ -and what a brand it is. The internet has fundamentally changed the world for the better and we should be proud of that. Our role as an industry in making that happen is key. Digital advertising funds and powers the internet, 90% of people don’t want to pay for content, many can’t afford to but digital advertising has meant it has remained predominantly free.

Digital advertising has revolutionised and democratised marketing. At the heart of an industry that at times can seem incredibly complex is the most beautifully simple medium. A medium that allows you as a brand to only pay when an ad works, a medium that allows you to only pay when an ad is definitely seen and a medium that can offer the most amazing creative options. Digital advertising really is the smartest way to reach and wow people.

Secondly we need to clean up the mess. Let’s address the issues and take them away. The good news is we’re doing a lot and we’re getting there, but there is only so much the IAB can do on its own. We need you all to take action and to do more. Let’s create an industry that we’re proud of starting with the digital supply chain. The time has come to stop talking about the barriers to fixing the problems and to start just fixing them. At our US Leadership Summit Randall Rothenburg gave a rousing speech asking the industry to do just that. If you haven’t read it, you should.

So that’s agenda item no.1, reasserting positivity, and it’s top of the agenda by some distance. There is so much we should be proud of that this industry funds and enables, but we are at an important point in time. A point in time where we can either continue to think short-term and prioritise getting today's revenue at the expense of the future or we can think long term and prioritise our revenue for the next decade.

If we work together as an industry using the IAB as a facilitator we can make an industry that we all feel genuinely proud to work in and one that will continue to flourish.

Written by

Jon Mew

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